Wednesday, October 17, 2012

FCC Frees Up 30 MHz of Spectrum in 2.3 GHz Band

In its effort to remove regulatory barriers, the FCC adopted rules to enable Wireless Communications Service (WCS) licensees’ to use a total of 30 megahertz of underutilized spectrum in the 2.3 GHz band for wireless broadband services. 

Of the 30 megahertz of total spectrum, 20 megahertz may be used for mobile broadband services and 10 megahertz for fixed broadband services, with possible future use as downlink spectrum to serve mobile 
broadband devices. 

The FCC said the new rules, which are consistent with a compromise proposal between AT&T Inc. and Sirius XM, will protect the adjacent Satellite Digital Audio Radio Service (SDARS) operator Sirius XM Radio Inc. (Sirius XM) against harmful interference. 

Mellanox Hits Q3 Revenue of $157 Million, up 17% Sequentially

Mellanox posted revenue of $156.5 million for the third quarter of 2012, up 17.2 percent from $133.5 million in the second quarter of 2012, and up 129.6 percent from $68.2 million in the third quarter of 2011.
GAAP gross margins in the third quarter of 2012 were 69.1 percent, compared with 68.8 percent in the second quarter of 2012, and 64.5 percent in the third quarter of 2011.
“Our third quarter results demonstrate the company’s continued ability to increase its penetration into existing markets, as well as to expand into new markets for our InfiniBand solutions,” said Eyal Waldman, chairman, president and CEO of Mellanox Technologies. “We also continue to see increased traction for our 10 and 40 Gigabit Ethernet products. We expect additional partners and customers to benefit from the higher return-on-investment that our fast interconnect solutions provide to them.”

Verizon to Transfer Pension Plan Obligations Worth $7.5 Billion to Prudential

Verizon Communications announced plans to transfer $7.5 billion in management pension plan obligations to The Prudential Insurance Company of America pursuant to which the Verizon Management Pension Plan (the "Plan").  This will help transfer $7.5 billion of Verizon's nearly $30 billion in outstanding pension obligations.

Under the agreement, the Plan will purchase a group annuity contract from Prudential, which will then assume the obligation to make future annuity payments to certain Verizon management retirees.  The amount of each retiree's annuity payment will be equal to the amount of such individual's pension benefit.

The transaction affects Verizon's U.S. management pension benefits covering approximately 41,000 current management retirees. Current management employees, former management employees who retired on or after Jan. 1, 2010, and certain other retirees are not affected.  Union-represented employees and formerly union-represented retirees are not affected as well.

Google Opens North Carolina Data Center to Street View

Google posted a Street View tour of its massive data center in Lenoir, North Carolina.  A YouTube guided tour is also online.

Some notes from the production

  • Google highlights its custom server design
  • Each piece of data is stored on at least 2 servers
  • Important data is back-up to tape libraries

Here are the locations of Google data centers:

Berkeley County, South Carolina
Council Bluffs, Iowa
Douglas County, Georgia
Lenoir, North Carolina
Mayes County, Oklahoma
The Dalles, Oregon

Quilicura, Chile

Hong Kong

Hamina, Finland
St Ghislain, Belgium
Dublin, Ireland

Google Links Data Centers with Software-defined Networking

WAN economics to date have not made Google happy, said Urs Hoelzle, SVP of Technical Infrastructure and Google Fellow, speaking at the Open Networking Summit 2012 in Santa Clara, California. Ideally, the cost per bit should go down as the network scales, but this is not really true in a really massive backbone like Google's. This scale requires more expensive hardware and manual management of very complex software. The goal should be to manage...

Alcatel-Lucent and Citrix Partner on Carrier Clouds

Alcatel-Lucent is working with Citrix to accelerate the arrival of a new class of ‘carrier cloud’ solutions.  Specifically, Alcatel Lucent is delivering a "Citrix Ready" verified solution,  CloudBand Management System and CloudBand Node, which combines the computing power and flexibility of the cloud with the high performance, reliability and security of communications networks.

The "Citrix Ready" designation identifies products that are proven to interoperate smoothly with Citrix cloud solutions, giving the companies that deploy the confidence that they will perform as promised.

The solution from Alcatel-Lucent utilizes Citrix CloudPlatform, powered by Apache CloudStack, to deliver cloud services closer to customers with lower latency, better control of bandwidth and guaranteed quality of service.

Separately, the companies also announced the Citrix Ready verification of an Alcatel-Lucent Application Fluent Network that automates the performance optimization of enterprise networks to provide a superior customer experience with mobile devices and real-time applications such as virtual desktops. The solution leverages Citrix networking, data center and desktop virtualization products including Citrix  Netscaler, Citrix Branch Repeater, Citrix XenServer and Citrix XenDesktop.

Japan's NICT Develops White Spaces Prototype

Japan's National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) has developed a prototype wireless device that operates in the TV White Space (TVWS) spectrum (470 MHz - 710 MHz) and based on the IEEE 802.11af draft specification. 

NICT said its prototype verifies the physical (PHY) and media access control (MAC) layer design of the draft specification.

It uses a single 6 MHz TV channel to operate and is implemented with a transmission power of 20 dBm. The prototype has an interface and co-worked with White Space Data Base (WSDB) developed by NICT and the full MAC specification of the secured protocol is implemented for primary user (licensed TV broadcaster) protections. The prototype also has an interface and co-works with the Registered Location Secure Server (RLSS) that is defined in the 802.11af draft standard to avoid interference with other white space users (secondary users). 

  • In March 2012, the IEEE approved P802.22b Amendment Project for Enhanced Broadband Services and Monitoring Applications.The new amendment enhances the IEEE 802.22-2011 standard to accommodate a wide variety of applications using cognitive radio technology in Television White Spaces (TVWS). These applications include long range and regional area smart grid, critical infrastructure monitoring, triple play services like providing voice, video and data, backhaul for broadband access, offloading cellular telephony traffic, regional area public safety and homeland security networks, emergency broadband services, monitoring rain forests, monitoring livestock, and border protection etc.

Additional information on this amendment PAR can be found on the IEEE 802.22 WG webpage.
  • In July 2011, The IEEE published the 802.22 standard for Wireless Regional Area Networks (WRANs) using the favorable transmission characteristics of the VHF and UHF TV bands. 802.22 enables broadband wireless access over a large area up to 100 km from the transmitter. The standard specifies up to 22 Mbps per channel without interfering with reception of existing TV broadcast stations, using the so-called white spaces between the occupied TV channels.

    IEEE 802.22 incorporates advanced cognitive radio capabilities including dynamic spectrum access, incumbent database access, accurate geolocation techniques, spectrum sensing, regulatory domain dependent policies, spectrum etiquette, and coexistence for optimal use of the available spectrum.

Level 3 Expands Data Center in Quito, Ecuador

Citing growing market demand, Level 3 Communications announced an expansion of its data center in Quito, Ecuador.  The company now operates 14 data centers in Latin America.  All of the facilities are on its global network.

"The Ecuadorian market shows a growing demand for data housing, hosting and value-added services," said Francisco Guzman, Level 3's head of Sales and Services in Ecuador. "The trend to outsource these services to a trusted business partner that will support the customer in its expansion strategy is crucial for companies today so they can focus on their core business."

Alcatel-Lucent Confirms Role in China Mobile’s TD-LTE

China Mobile has awarded a major contract to Alcatel-Lucent Shanghai Bell to support its TD-LTE trial network rollout as it extends services to 10 cities.

Under the terms of the contract, Alcatel-Lucent Shanghai Bell will deliver approximately 3,000 base stations in the cities of Shanghai, Nanjing and Qingdao, three major economic hubs of China.

The company will supply its end-to-end TD-LTE solution including the baseband part of the Alcatel-Lucent 9926 Base Station, multi-band TD-LTE RF remote modules, core network equipment and other products, as well as its 5620 Service Aware Manager (SAM) and other network management tools.

China Mobile expects to extend its large scale trial to launch new services in the cities early next year.  

China Mobile now has over 700 million subscribers.

RagingWire to Build Another Massive Data Center in Ashburn, VA

RagingWire Data Centers, which operates 650,000 square feet (60,000m2) of wholesale and retail data center space in Northern California and Northern Virginia, has paid $20 million offer to acquire 75 acres of land in Ashburn, Virginia.

RagingWire said it plans to build  a 750,000 square foot (69,000m2) data center in phases on the site. 

RagingWire currently operates a 150,000 square foot facility in Ashburn, along with its flagship 500,000 data center in Sacramento, California.  The current Ashburn facility was activated in July 2012. It features 2N+2 redundancy in its critical facilities infrastructure all the way to the customer’s rack and 21 megawatts of highly available facility power.  The campus includes RagingWire’s patented power management system and a number of energy efficiency innovations. RagingWire's  initial fiber carrier partners at the facility include Level3 Communications, XO Communications, Verizon Business, Abovenet Communications, Comcast, Fibergate, Fiberlight Communications and Yellow Fiber Communications, among others.

Belgacom Moves Ahead with Large VDSL2 Vectoring Trial

Belgacom has confirmed its plan for a nationwide upgrade of its large VDSL2 network, which currently serves more than one million active lines. The next step will be large-scale customer trials using Alcatel-Lucent's VDSL2 Vectoring technology.

Tests of the new technology are confirming the possibility of a dedicated speed of 50 Mbps to a vast majority of customers, along with a guaranteed high quality video experience.  Belgacom’s current VDSL2 network – supplied by Alcatel-Lucent – already delivers a dedicated speed of 30 Mbps to the vast majority of customers, and a high quality HDTV experience to more than 83% of the households.

Belgacom and Alcatel-Lucent also said they are working with key industry partners such as the home gateways manufacturers Sagemcom and Technicolor, and chipset developers Broadcom and Ikanos to prepare jointly an "operationally ready" end-to-end solution.

Zayo Continues to Build its Footprint with latest Acquisition -- First Telecom

 Zayo Group, agreed to acquire First Telecom Services, which operates a fiber network across the northeastern and midwestern United States, for $110 million.
First Telecom Services manages a network of over 8,000 route miles of fiber and approximately 500 on-net buildings. It provides dark fiber and wavelength services across its 11 state footprint, with the highest concentration of network and revenue in Pennsylvania and Ohio. FTS’ customers are primarily other telecommunications carriers.
“This transaction strengthens Zayo’s business both from a revenue and asset perspective,” says Dan Caruso, President and CEO of Zayo Group. “First and foremost, FTS brings a strong and durable base of largely dark fiber revenue from a select group of strategic customers. Second, it secures Zayo’s control over some critical and unique regional fiber routes.”
Prior to this acquision but including its recent acquisitions of AboveNet and FiberGate, Zayo Group’s network assets include approximately 68,500 route miles, covering 45 states plus Washington, D.C. Additionally, Zayo Group has over 136,000 billable square feet of colocation space and approximately 9,000 on-net buildings, including 526 Data Centers, 503 Points-of-Presence (PoPs), and 2,661 Cell Towers.